News India Times January 26, 2018 22 Republic Day Special -PATNA resident Ram Nath Kovind on Thursday stressed the need to understand different religions and their different traditions, as they all are one and the same, leading to the path of truth. Inaugurating the 4th International Dharma-Dhamma Conference on "State and Social Order in Dharma-Dhamma Traditions" in Rajgir of Nalanda district in Bihar, the President said the meet reflected India's friendship with ASEAN countries, "which share our rich spiritual heritage and age-old knowledge of the Indian sub- continent and south-eastern Asian coun- tries". "This conference is being held at a time when we are celebrating 25 years of ASEAN-India dialogue partnership. This year on the Republic Day, representatives of all the 10 countries of ASEAN will be our honourable guests." He said the Nalanda University was itself an example of result of close coopera- tion between India and ASEANA countries. Nalanda University Vice Chancellor Sunaina Singh said the varsity, in collabo- ration with the Centre for Study of Religion and Society, India Foundation, Ministry of External Affairs and the Vietnam Buddhist University, was organising the event. The three-day conference started on January 11at Rajgir International Convention Centre, Rajgir -- about 100km from here. The event was part of a series of com- memorative events to celebrate the Silver Jubilee year of ASEAN-India Dialogue Partnership, with active support from the Ministry of External Affairs, Singh added. Besides President Kovind, Bihar Governor Satya Pal Malik, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Sri Lankan Minister of Foreign Affairs and Development Assignments Tilak Marapana and Kingdom of Thailand's Minister for Culture Vira Rojpojchanarat, among others, are attend- ing the conference. The overall theme of the Conference -- State and Social Order in Dharma- Dhamma Tradition -- aims to facilitate cross-pollination of ideas and foster har- mony at the global level and also seeks to explore the shared values of the dharmic traditions that could provide the guiding light to the world and a sense of inter-con- nectedness. As one of the defining principles of the human civilization, Dharma-Dhamma provided the structure upon which a broad array of human existence and cosmic life was built across the globe. The notion of Dharma-Dhamma, in its manifold manifestations, including truth and non-violence, peace and harmony, humaneness and spiritual linkages and universal fraternity and peaceful co-exis- tence, served as a moral compass that guided people in the Indian sub-continent through ages and continues to shape and sustain the Indian cultural ethos. -IANS All Religions Lead To Path Of Truth, Says Kovind By Rajnish Singh -NEW DELHI M en performing biking stunts at Republic Day functions is history. The BSF has now trained 113 women bikers who will be riding on 26 350 CC Royal Enfield motorcycles to perform acrobatics and daredevil stunts at this Republic Day parade. The bikers, in the age group 20 to 31 and led by Sub-Inspector Stanzin Noryang, 28, from Jammu and Kashmir's Ladakh region, would be a first all-women contingent from any force to perform biking stunts at the annual event that displays a mix of India's military might and cultural prowess. Interestingly, Noryang didn't know how to ride a bike when she volunteered to be included in the Border Security Force's "women daredevil team". That was in October 2016. But today she is confident she can not only ride but perform daredev- il stunts with 10 other riders on single motorcycle. "I never thought of riding a bike because of fear. Now, I am confident of doing any stunt on a Royal Enfield Bullet -- a very heavy two-wheeler. I am proud of my seniors who trained and chose me to lead the team and perform stunts at the Republic Day event," Noryang told IANS. The team was rehearsing on Rajpath, days before the January 26 event which will be attended by President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and 10 leaders of Asean countries, who will be the guests of honour for this Republic Day parade. In fact, most of the women in the "Seema Bhawani" contingent, named after a Hindu deity, didn't know bike riding but still volunteered to learn it. The idea was the brainchild of BSF Director General K.K. Sharma who wanted to replace men daredevils with women bik- ers, Deputy Inspector General Pushpendra Rathore said. Rathore is in charge of the team that has been camping in Delhi since December. Deputy Commandant Ramesh Chandra is the chief coach and Sub-Inspector K.M. Kalyana is the coach of the team trained by a special team of BSF instructors at the Central School of Motor Transport at Tekanpur in Gwalior. Chandra noted that a unique part of the team was that its members come from almost "every state across the country". The largest 20 are from Punjab, followed by 15 fromWest Bengal. Ten are from Madhya Pradesh, nine fromMaharashtra, eight from Uttar Pradesh, seven each from Assam and Bihar, six from Odisha, five each from Rajasthan, Manipur and Gujarat, three each from Jammu and Kashmir and Chhattisgarh, two each from Karnataka, Uttarakhand, Delhi and Kerala, one each fromMeghalaya and Himachal Pradesh. "Their selection was done on a mission mode project, keeping in view our coun- try's 'unity in diversity'. As many as 15 of the 113 daredevil women teammembers are married and some of them are mothers of one or two children. But their courage to volunteer for their selection in the team was admirable. They knew it was a very dif- ficult mission," Chandra said. Explaining why it "was really tough" to train the women, Chandra said: "Only three or four of them knew bike riding -- but our attempts, their enthusiasm and will power really worked in our joint endeavour to create history." Coach Kalyana, who has nearly three decades of experience in training bike rid- ers, said they took some days to "overcome the bike riding fear" but "became experts soon with their intensive training in stunt- riding". The women followed a rigorous training regime every day. They would start their bikes at 8 a.m. and keep riding and learn- ing stunts till 1 p.m. They would reassem- ble again at 3.30 p.m. and continue till 5.30 p.m. everyday under the guidance of "spe- cial instructors", Kalyana said. As per the tradition, the BSF and the Army's bike-borne daredevils, alternatively every year, end the parade riding their roaring motorcycles. This time it was the BSF's turn and they have sent in their women contingents to showcase "Pyramid", "Fish Riding", "Shaktiman", "Bull Fighting", "Seema Prahari" and other stunts. -IANS A First At R-Day Parade: Women BSF Bikers To Display Daredevilry Women BSF bikers practicing on Rajpath for Republic Day Parade. IANS – that’s all you need to know All 10 ASEAN Leaders Confirm Participation In R-Day Celebrations -NEW DELHI L eaders of all 10 Asean countries have confirmed their participation as Guests of Honour at India's Republic Day celebrations to commem- orate 25 years of New Delhi's close ties with the southeast Asian bloc. Preeti Saran, Secretary East in the External Affairs Ministry, told reporters here onWednesday that it was "unprecedented" in India's history to have 10 Guests of Honour at the Republic Day parade -- a mix of India's military might and cultural heritage. "This time, we will have all the 10 Asean leaders. We are delighted and honoured that all the 10 Asean leaders have confirmed their participation in the commemorative summit as well as to be Guests of Honour at the Republic Day," Saran said. She said it was a landmark year for Asean and India as they are celebrating 25 years of friendship, 15 years of sum- mit partnership and five years of strate- gic partnership. She said that in the run up to the summit on January 25, the government also planned to organise another 16 major events. The leaders from Indonesia, Singapore, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam will start arriv- ing by January 24. The summit will begin with a banquet hosted by President Ramnath Kovind, to be fol- lowed by a plenary and a "gala dinner to be hosted by Prime Minister" Narendra Modi. Saran said special arrangements have been made for spouses of at least six of the 10 leaders who would travel to India. -IANS P Continued From Page 20